INCANTATION: Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse
Release year: 1995/2019
Label: Relapse Records
As the liner notes of the 2019 re-release of Incantations‘ third full-length output detail, the material on the album is in essence a demo of what eventually became US death metal legends’ second album, Mortal Throne Of Nazarene. After an abortive process, the band sent what they considered failed results to Relapse in hopes of securing further studio time. However, in the following year after Mortal Throne Of Nazarene, for one reason or another Relapse decided to release the results of the abortive session on CD.
Unlike the “actual” album, Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse has not seen re-releases since 1995, and so copies of the CD sell for quite hefty prices on Discogs. A new CD edition, and a first ever vinyl edition were certainly in order. Especially when listening to what is contained on them.
Truthfully, upon listening to Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse, I do not see why these recordings were rejected as a failure. The low-end heavy, murky sound lends a strong doom-filled, cavernous atmosphere to the music, nicely complimented by Craig Pillard’s ultra-low growl. The music, a balanced mixture of furious blasting, mid-paced sections and lurching, doomy passages, is US death metal at its very best. To my ears, this sounds pretty much perfect.
I know there is some dissension as to how much point there was in releasing Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse when Mortal Throne Of Nazarene exists, and I’m not really going to side with any camp here. I can see why fans would consider releasing the exactly same tracks in different versions and reversed running order, a mere year after Mortal Throne Of Nazarene, redundant and even a rip-off, but that’s not my point. My point is, listening to what I consider to be rock-solid material, I just don’t understand why anyone was dissatisfied to begin with!
Judged solely on its own merits, Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse is a superb entry in Incantations’ discography. The rumbling low-end emphasizing cavernous sound, the lurching tempos, the subterranean vocals, all sound like what death doom bands are doing today – Incantation were just doing it years and years before.
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